Graduates share their pride, off the tops of their heads

Photo by Evan Cantwell

Decorating caps has become a tradition among college graduates.

At George Mason University’s 51st Spring Commencement on May 18 at EagleBank Arena on the Fairfax Campus, students used their mortarboards to highlight their individuality and diversity.

Different backgrounds, majors, faiths and passions brought out the creative side of these George Mason graduates, with photos by Mason mobile journalist Mary Lee Clark.


Celebrating her heritage

Isis Mosqueda, a government and international politics major, pulled inspiration for her cap from her Mexican heritage. She used a Mexican cloth called a serape, which is traditionally worn as a poncho. "I wanted to do something a little cultural because I am of Mexican heritage, but I am also minimalistic, so I didn't want to put too much on it,” Mosqueda said. “I just took this old blanket that we have, and cut it up and put it over."


Acknowledging her faith

Sandra Pineda, an English major, received help from her fiancé on her cap. Pineda came to the United States from El Salvador when she was 11 years old. “I had a lot of struggles getting here today,” she said. Pineda said that her faith helped her get through the last few years of school. “But I am here, and I wanted to give [Jesus Christ] the honor.”


Looking for adventure

Felipe Leite received his degree in civil and infrastructure engineering. Born in Brazil, he moved with his family to Washington, D.C., when he was 3 months old. The blank space at the bottom of the design on his cap was left open to represent the new adventures he’ll experience after graduation.


Words to live by

Gavrielle Farmer, a neuroscience major, said she wants to pursue a career in mental health research. When searching for cap ideas, she said she came across a quote that is attributed to Austrian psychotherapist Alfred Adler: “Follow your heart but take your brain with you.” Farmer said that resonated with her, so she added it to her cap with George Mason colors.